Immigrant families stage sit-in at Rep. George Holding's Raleigh office

McClatchy Washington BureauJune 4, 2014 

A group of immigrant families and advocates held a sit-in at Rep. George Holding’s Raleigh office Wednesday afternoon, demanding that he call on House Speaker John Boehner to schedule a House vote on an immigration overhaul.

One of the demonstrators, Angelita Morrisroe of Dudley, 63, said she would not leave the congressman’s office until he calls the speaker or she is forcibly removed. She says she has had five family members who have been deported from the United States to Mexico. Morrisroe, who is a permanent resident, was arrested just after 4 p.m. and taken into custody.

Holding is one of more than two dozen House Republicans who are being targeted in a nationwide push on the anniversary of a House vote that would have defunded the White House program that blocks deportations of hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children.

“It’s been nearly a year since the U.S. Senate passed the bipartisan immigration bill, and during that time, House Republicans have used nearly every excuse in the book as to why they can’t finish the job and pass comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship,” said Arturo Rodriguez, president of United Farm Workers. Rodriguez spoke to reporters on a conference call while sitting outside the office of House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., in Bakersfield, Calif.

The Raleigh organizer Sidney Traynham said the group of 10 demonstrators were briefly inside Holding’s office but were kicked out. At 3:30 p.m., they were still waiting in the lobby of the building.

A member of Holding’s staff met with demonstrators. Spokeswoman Lindsay Hamilton said Holding has supported a number of bills that address specific problems with the immigration system. “Congressman Holding believes that this issue begins with securing our borders and enforcing the laws already on the books,” she said.

A similar protest was held several weeks ago at Rep. Howard Coble’s Greensboro office. According to staffers, a couple of demonstrators fasted for several days on behalf of a relative being detained. Staff said Coble met with the demonstrators several times. Spokesman Ed McDonald said immigration is too complex to handle in one large bill. He said Coble’s position is to address immigration on a “case-by-case, issue-by-issue basis and not as a comprehensive reform bill.”

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